The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Dance & film co-mingle for a happy 2017

Dance · Film
We’re ringing in a Happy New Year with a movie friend, Rudolf Nureyev, who stars in the Ken Russell biopic, “Valentino” (1977). Nureyev looks smart, doesn’t he, in his tuxedo pictured (above) alongside his festooned co-star, actress Carol Kane. But I also enjoy seeing Rudi sans tux — casbah-style — putting the iron grip on ...

Seeking Jack Cole at the Rainbow Room

Architecture & Design · Dance · Featured · Music
It was a lovely holiday event, a swellegant affair. First Republic Bank of New York, generous supporters of myriad arts organizations, threw a reception at the Rainbow Room high atop Rockefeller Center. Rocking the Room were the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, whose youthful big-band sound boomed beneath the clatter of cocktailers while the crazy ...

Busby Berkeley brings it to Bette Davis in ‘Fashions of 1934’

Dance · Film
A great dance movie starring Bette Davis. Who knew? Apparently Film Forum director of repertory programming, Bruce Goldstein, did. He programmed FASHIONS OF 1934, smart and smashing in a 35mm print and preserved by Library of Congress, as part of Film Forum’s recent nine-day Busby Berkeley festival. It’s a really good movie, well acted and ...

‘Dance Masters’ Chakiris & Chase in ‘An Evening at the Barn’

Dance · Featured · Film
Two great dancers. Two beautiful people. Both with Los Angeles dance roots. Both gypsy dancers in the great decade of movie-musicals, the 1950s. Between them, their titles include: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There’s No Business Like Show Business, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Meet Me in Las Vegas, The I Don’t Care Girl, Daddy Long ...

Happy birthday, Barrie Chase! 1

Dance · Film
Wishing a wonderful birthday to a leggy lady, the great Hollywood dancer Barrie Chase. She not only graced Fred Astaire as his final partner, she brought her own strong, vixen presence as a solo dancer (on view in the video, dancing to “The Girl from Ipanema”) to millions of American television viewers in the 1960s. ...

Jack Cole’s nightclub act: a talk by Debra Levine Oct 25

Dance · Language & ideas
A review headline screamed, “Cyclone Hits Slapsy Maxie’s.” The performance?  Jack Cole and His Dancers at the Wilshire Boulevard supper club in 1948. In the house: Frank Sinatra, Robert Walker, Jimmy Durante, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Dorsey, Max Baer. Also, according to the review, “Bullets Durgom still without a toupee.” Cole and ...

Why and when Ethel Martin started wearing hats

Dance · Theater
Yet another delicious show-business nugget from the plain-spoken Jack Cole dancer Ethel Martin, courtesy of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts: So out of working for Jack [Cole] at the Casa [the Casa Manana, Billy Rose’s night club] , Jack held auditions for Something for the Boys. He took me. He didn’t ...

‘Showgirl’ dances once more, at Film Forum

Dance · Film
In 1928 Alice White, First National Pictures’ blonde answer to Clara Bow, starred in the movie musical Show Girl. She plays Dixie Dugan, an aspiring dancer who fakes her own kidnapping as a publicity stunt. Based on popular writer J.P. McEvoy’s Dixie Dugan character, Show Girl was the first starring vehicle for White. Long thought ...

How Eugene Loring ‘got sold’ on working for producer Stanley Kramer 1

Dance · Film
Fascinating commentary from dance maker Eugene Loring who choreographed the whimsical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, a Dr. Seuss-derived cult movie dating from 1953. Loring, the creator of “Billy the Kid” ballet for American Ballet Theatre and founder of Hollywood’s American School of Ballet, ports impressive film credits that include Ziegfield Follies (1945), Yolanda ...